I have read many great discussions here about how different application methods produce very different results. Dabbing gives a different effect than spraying, and so on. Even with my limited experience, I couldn't but agree more. Recently, however, I've discovered an alternative that I don't remember seeing discussed here that much. Maybe I am still not very good with the search function so I hope this is the right place in this forum for this.
The whole thing started when I was shopping at a local Body Shop, and asked the SA for samples. Sure, she replied. Instead of using vials (as I had expected), she took a few small pieces of cotton, put them inside these tiny little flat containers (the ones that they normally use for giving you samples of creams and lotions), and sprayed from a tester directly onto the cotton, getting it generously soaked, put on the lids, and voila, my samples were ready. And me, I was looking on skeptically.
A couple of days later I decided to explore the cotton pieces, and found them still moist in their containers (the lids they use are pretty good). When applying the samples with the pieces of cotton, I got into thinking that this actually mimics spraying because I am applying a very thin layer over large areas of skin.
So, I started experimenting with some of my other scents that I originally got as 1-ml vials, by lightly soaking little cotton balls, and then using them to spread the sample over my skin with little pressure applied. This may sound like a wasteful way of doing it, but I am now sure that this gives me a much more realistic idea about how the fragrance would smell if it were sprayed from a bottle, with the top notes playing a more prominent role in the overall development. The only problem with this technique is that your fingers will get thoroughly perfumed... but this happens to me anyway when I try to handle these little sample vials.
What do you think? Am I onto something? Or there is some fatal flaw in this idea that I don't see?
I've done that when an SA has told me they didn't have any vials to give a sample-- asked them to spray a cotton ball and put it into a bag (even a store bag.) It does work but as you say, a lot of the perfume gets on your hands. But it's an alternative way to get a sample when there is no other way.
Now I've taken to bringing with me a few empty 2.5 ml atomizers. Next time an SA tells me they don't have vials, I'm going to ask them to spritz from the tester bottle into the atomizer 4 or 5 times.